The 2019 Kia Forte

The Kia Forte leaves eco-performance to rivals; it focuses on safety and luxury touches. The 2019 Kia Forte is a compact sedan or hatchback that competes with heavy-hitters of the industry. The Forte trades on its roomy interior, good fuel economy, but cars like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla have a longer history and name recognition with economy shoppers. The Forte nevertheless gives compact-car shoppers a good choice, if it’s top safety ratings and easy to use infotainment they seek.


What does it look like?

Last year’s update brought new headlights and a shapelier front end to the Forte. The arched profile, lightly sculpted sides, and long roofline remained intact. They’re not as distinctive now as they were when the shape was new in 2014; they’re quite close, in fact, to the Forte’s cousin, the Hyundai Elantra. From its signature tiger-nose grille to available LED lights and available 17-inch alloy wheels, the Kia Forte makes a lasting impression from every angle. Plus with chrome exhaust accents, available LED rear combination lamps and hands-free trunk opener, the Forte includes an eye-catching exit.


What it look like from the inside?

Much like its exterior, the interior of the 2019 Kia Forte is simple and a bit understated, but interesting, attractive and artistically detailed. The control layout is intuitive, and the soft-touch dash and high-quality materials add an upscale ambiance. Seat comfort is excellent, and four adults can ride in comfort. EX models get standard leather, and there are heating and cooling seats available, as well as a 10-way-power driver’s seat with power lumbar support. Even the rear seat offers a center armrest with cup holders.


What’s under the hood?

A revised 2.0-liter four-cylinder is the only engine choice for now. It makes the same horsepower and torque as the 2019 model at 147 hp and 132 lb-ft. All changes are designed to help it sip less fuel. Those include a cooled EGR system, piston cooling jets, and higher-voltage ignition. Of course, the biggest powertrain difference comes in the form of Kia’s first continuously variable transmission (CVT). Kia says that because it uses a chain-type belt, it offers smoother acceleration over other CVTs in its class that use a push-belt system.


What are the miscellaneous features?

Forte hatchbacks are offered in LX, EX, and SX trim levels. Base LX hatchbacks largely mirror their sedan counterparts. EX hatchbacks add heated front seats, leather, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, and keyless ignition. All-in for an SX adds sportier pieces inside such as pedals and a sport steering wheel; chromed tailpipes, 18-inch wheels, and darker windows outside. Option packages add features such as rear heated seats, cooled driver seat, a sunroof, 17-inch wheels, navigation, and a power-adjustable driver seat. Kia’s UVO infotainment system taps smartphone data plans to power its mapping and streaming services. It mirrors those functions on its screen, but also offers its own services such as parking-space reminders. The latest version also is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.


What are the pricing notes?

Prices for the Kia Forte lineup start at about $17,600 for the low-end Forte Sedan LX model with a manual transmission. That includes the $850 destination charge; an automatic transmission adds about $1,000 to the price. The new Forte Sedan S model starts at about $20,000, while the top-end EX sedan starts at around $22,500.

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